May’s Brexit offer bears no more meaning than Chamberlain’s declaration of peace in our time, says Peter Divey.
Peace in our time. It presaged the exact opposite. Brexit means Brexit now joins that Chamberlain quote in history. But there is a big difference between Chamberlain and May. Intent. One was sincere, if naive, the other, deceitful, devious and engaged in a calculated and deliberate act of infamy.
A meaningful Brexit is now officially dead. I knew this was coming, I have written about it extensively here on Comment Central, posting after posting. If you want to understand the inner workings revisit my earlier article “Brexit and a pig’s ear”. It is all laid out there. Yet upon arrival this confirmation still strikes with the severest hammer blow.
I have no doubt that Olly Robbins and his cabal devised this entire thing with EU oversight. The referendum has been sidestepped with exemplary skill as you cannot say that it has been ignored. There is expectation that the EU will reject this tosh out of hand, but do not be so sure. Why would they? This is not a concession or two, it is wholesale retreat. The EU will be surprisingly receptive, of course adjustments will be needed, even more “softening”, but it will be a solid framework upon which to build. Some on the EU side will mutter about cherry picking, but it is a very bad deal for the UK and even the arrogant EU would be foolish to push for too much more. No-Deal could suddenly reappear on the table if Team UK was shamed even beyond its remarkable tolerance. That generous Brexit Bill is a very tempting morsel.
A necessary compromise from a minority Government that does not have Parliamentary support? That will be the spin. That legendary Cliff Edge is now just a kerb. This is the collective position declares May, rescinding any post-referendum individualism. Strangely tough at home, doling out ultimatums to any errant Cabinet Ministers, quelling any possible rebellion, and yet meek as a mouse with the EU. That this was even proposed, let alone signed off…it is the biggest v-sign to the electorate in modern history. Contempt has never been more brazen.
All hope is not yet lost, but if we were playing in the World Cup final, as half-time approaches we are 3-0 down. We are being badly outplayed and cannot get on the ball. Everything is reactive, scurrying and huffing and puffing. We need the greatest halftime talk in history, a change in tactics and brilliant use of the substitutes. We are relying on the other side to make mistakes. It sometimes happens.
Confession time. That painful dose of reality. As Chamberlain was naive, so were Leave voters. Foolish to ever think a useful Brexit would be allowed. Trampled down into the mud, kettled and confined into the dark valley floor as that sunlit upland is fenced off. A dream too far. Brexit means Remain. “Infamy, infamy, they’ve got it in for me”…but this is no Carry On film, it is real life and just as farcical and tragic.